As a promotional offer from Capcom Europe this week, the Downloadable Content (DLC) known as Versus Mode for Resident Evil 5 is available at a reduced price on both Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Store. At only a £2.06 (at the standard Microsoft Point exchange value) on Xbox 360 and £2.39 on PlayStation 3, anyone still captivated by the action-orientated adventure game or having only recently purchased the product would be hard-pressed to find a reason not to grab the DLC while this promotion runs, but for those who have moved on since the game’s release in the early part of 2009, is Versus Mode fresh enough to draw you back?
Originally made available shortly after Resident Evil 5’s PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 retail launch, Versus Mode caused quite a stir upon release. A debate raged as to whether or not the DLC was worth the asking price. Considered by many to be content that should have been included on the disc and yet by others as a welcome addition to an already brimming package, the cost of the product was of course the biggest debate. Now however, available for only a couple of pounds, few could argue of the value that the Versus Mode brings.
Solo and Team variants of two gameplay modes are included, playable across eight maps. Slayer mode awards points for damage done to wandering Majini and opposing players, with first place awarded to the player or team with the highest score. Survivor Mode awards point for damage done to the opposing team only. Both modes support up to four player simultaneously, though sadly no split-screen option is available.
Slayer Mode scores different points for different enemy kills, accordingly growing in points for difficulty. Killing any opposing player will reward you with 1,000 points, and cost them the same; killing a basic Majini will award you 300 points and combo multipliers will quickly boost your score. The player in last place will receive a x2 multiplier bonus, meaning the position will be exchanged rapidly with two or more adept players. The map layout hasn’t changed from Mercenaries Mode, which may disappoint many players. Just a single new addition would have been nice, to say the least.
Survivor Mode truly separates the skilled players from the flock, with the wandering Majini being a waste of ammo and only to be dispatched when entirely necessary. And should you let yourself get into that position, it’s likely that you’re already losing. Players awarded point for the amount of damage dealt to the opposing team, meaning that even if a player should commit suicide with a badly aimed grenade, the opposing team will score. Players will also lose points for damage incurred and lives lost, though obviously significantly less than they are awarded for scoring the equivalent on the opposing team. Both modes feature collectable time bonuses within the levels, making the standard 3-5mins extendable by a fair margin.
There a number of characters available to unlock with points awarded for placement at the end of each match, and this encourages players to keep playing, practising for that win. When you’re rewarded even when losing, it’s far less disheartening to be beaten repeatedly. And playing to those thirty-win Achievements is actually not as arduous as it seems, as although the new content may well be slight, it’s very much enjoyable.
Resident Evil 5’s Versus Mode is a pleasant addition to the on-disc package. Though it may be a very limited offering it rejuvenates the formula in an unexpected way, bringing new light to a game that has been swept over by many in the continuingly rapid release of new software. And though the debate about whether the asking price for Resident Evil 5’s Versus Mode is justified will rage on, only time – and future DLC efforts – will tell, but for this week at least, you could do a lot worse for your few pounds.